This year’s Literary Sojourn is postponed as ‘special edition’ is announced

Jess Walter, top left, Mary Roach, top right, Vendela Vida, bottom left, and Maaza Mengiste, bottom right. (Courtesy)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Bud Werner Memorial Library has announced plans to postpone 2021’s Literary Sojourn until the following year. The popular event, which draws literary fans from across the country, has been rescheduled for Sept. 10, 2022.

In addition, the library will host a Winter Sojourn on Jan. 22, 2022.

“Call it literary après ski,” said Jennie Lay, adult programs coordinator for the library. “You could ski a powder morning, grab a slice of pizza, then slide in to hear four world-class authors before dinner.”

Lay said Winter Sojourn will look and feel a little bit different from the traditional Literary Sojourn but will still embrace all the things that Sojourn fans love best, including four acclaimed authors: Maaza Mengiste, Mary Roach, Vendela Vida and Jess Walter.

“Sojourn lineups are always very carefully crafted,” Lay explained. “It’s no accident that this day features extraordinary books and authors with strong speaking capacity.”

Mengiste is an Ethiopian-American writer whose book, “The Shadow King,” was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, NPR, Elle, Time and more.

Vida’s latest novel, “We Run the Tides,” was a national bestseller and a New York Times Book Review editor’s choice. Two of her previous novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

Roach is a nonfiction writer, specializing in popular science and humor. She has been called “American’s funniest science writer,” and her forthcoming book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law,” will be published several months prior to Winter Sojourn.

Walter, who will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies, is the American author of seven novels, a collection of short stories and one nonfiction book. He was a National Book Award finalist for his book, “Citizen Vince” and is the recipient of the Edgar Allen Poe Award for his novel, “The Zero.” His latest book, “The Cold Millions,” was touted as a “literary miracle” by NPR.

The event will feature the four authors talking about their work, their craft, their inspirations and whatever is driving their creative genius at the moment. After each speaker, there will be an audience Q&A session.

“We are thrilled to be able to host a cast of nationally and internationally recognized authors in person in Steamboat Springs this winter,” Library Director Chris Painter said. “While virtual author talks and events have provided much needed sustenance for readers during the past year of the pandemic, the ability to meet and hear renowned writers talk about their books in person is incredibly inspiring.”

Literary Sojourn, which was founded in 1993 with the mission to bring noteworthy authors to the community, has included over 100 recipients and nominees of prestigious literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in the nearly two decades since it began.

While the decision to postpone it this year was difficult, Lay noted it was logistically impossible to make it happen.

“A full-capacity event is an unreasonable expectation for Literary Sojourn to run as we all know and love it in September 2021,” Lay said. “It’s going to be fabulous in September 2022.”

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